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10 Black Women in History Through Black History Movies

Learn about black women in history through black history movies. These are a few movies that feature historical documentaries of the lives of Black and African-American women in history.

I was pleasantly surprised to find dozens of titles which celebrate, highlight, and explore stories surrounding Black women in history that are well known and ones you may have never heard of.

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker

Who: Sarah Breedlove AKA Madam C. J. Walker

The true story of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, who built a haircare empire that made her the first female African American self-made millionaire | Stream on Netflix

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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  • The #1 New York Times bestseller The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
  • Shetterly, Margot Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 12/06/2016 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

Who: Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson

Sale
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  • The #1 New York Times bestseller The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
  • Shetterly, Margot Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 12/06/2016 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

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Loving
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joel Edgerton, Marton Csokas, Ruth Negga (Actors)
  • Jeff Nichols (Director) - Jeff Nichols (Writer) - Nancy Buirski (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

 

Truth
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gabrielle Raymond (Actor)
  • Kyle Portbury (Director) - Kyle Portbury (Writer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Truth

Who: Sojourner Truth

‘Truth’ is an Emmy® Award-winning animated short film centering on the iconic speech ‘Ain’t I a Woman‘ delivered by Sojourner Truth at the 1851 women’s convention in Akron Ohio.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Oprah Winfrey, Rose Byrne, Renee Elise Goldsberry (Actors)
  • George C. Wolfe (Director) - George C. Wolfe (Writer) - Oprah Winfrey (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Who: Henrietta Lacks

It is based on the book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot and documents the story of Henrietta Lacks, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s, and whose cancer cells (later known as HeLa) would change the course of cancer treatment.

Four Little Girls
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Maxine McNair, Chris McNair, Helen Pegues (Actors)
  • Spike Lee (Director) - Spike Lee (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

4 Little Girls

Who: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley

This historical documentary film about the 15 September 1963 murder of four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group.

Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Shirley Chisholm, Ronald V. Dellums, Barbara Lee (Actors)
  • Shola Lynch (Director) - Shola Lynch (Writer) - Shola Lynch (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed

Who: Shirley Chisholm

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In 1972, Shirley Chisholm announced her candidacy for president of the USA, launching the first-ever run by a woman and person of color for the presidential nomination, which, as you’d expect, engendered strong, and sometimes bigoted opposition, setting off currents that affect American politics and social perceptions to this day.

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Who: Wangari Maathai

In 2004, Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The film centers specifically on Maathai, the movement’s founder, as she helps spark a movement to reclaim Kenya’s land from a century of deforestation while providing new sources of livelihood to rural communities.

A Ballerina's Tale
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Misty Copeland (Actor)
  • Nelson George (Director) - Leslie Norville (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

A Ballerina’s Tale

Who: Misty Copeland

Nelson George’s documentary explores the rise of Misty Copeland, who made history as the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater. It gives audiences an intimate look at a groundbreaking dancer during a crucial period in her life, as she makes the transition.

Check out these Black History Month Worksheets by my friend Kelli at 3 Boys and a Dog.

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What other Black women in history would you add to this list?

Learn about black women in history through black history movies. These are a few movies that feature historical documentaries of the lives of Black and African-American women in history.

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